Spring is not my favorite season. However, I have come to appreciate it over the past couple of years by watching how much my husband loves spring. Our winters can be long, cold, and straight up miserable. Living out in the country seems to be even harsher as winds can quickly blow away any heat from the house. I don’t mind the cold winters as they provide a much-needed respite from the farm and I am convinced that cold winters mean fewer bug issues in the summer (or maybe that’s just wishful thinking).
My husband would be happy as a clam to work outside on the farm all day. The arrival of spring puts an end to the dark and cold days of winter where he can only be outside for a few minutes at a time. Warmer temperatures, rainstorms, and the overnight arrival of hundreds of red-winged blackbirds canvas our little slice of heaven. We get new chicks at the store, and I add in some ducklings for good measure.
Tulips start to pop through the soil, and the grass begins to green up. My kids are only inside after school long enough to eat a snack and hang up their backpacks before they are outside shooting hoops or riding bikes. The dogs can feel it too as they have been cooped up in the house all winter and long to stretch their legs and hunt for rabbits.
The most prominent sign of spring is the amount of mud stuck to the muck boots that line our back door. The kids have been warned not to take their brand-new athletic shoes anywhere near the grass in hope that they can stay decent for at least a few weeks.
The traffic in front of my house picks up as farmers start driving slowly by with tractors and plows. The robins begin building their nest, and everything is just a twitter with the promise of new life that comes to the Earth. Soon we’ll be finding blue eggs in nests and get to watch as they hatch and new robins take their first flight on the farm.
Our hens produce more eggs as they explore the outdoors longer each day and eat their fair share of worms. Even our duck is laying eggs every day now that the temperatures have warmed up. Plans for summer chicken grazing and the possibility of adding pigs to the farm are coming together as well.
We are making plans for the garden, and I am trying to hold my husband to only growing the food that we actually enjoy. I know that he won’t, but I can at least hope that my time harvesting a zillion cucumbers and zucchini will be short this year. The orchard has been pruned in hope that this year brings forth strong growth and a good harvest.
In a farming community, spring is always a hectic season. I probably feel the importance of this season more now as I realize how much livelihood can be gained or lost. No matter how harsh the winter has been, or even how bad the years before have gone, there is always new hope and wonder in the sweet arrival of spring.
Kristina Phelan is a former Spokane-area resident now living in Illinois. Visit her website at www.mamabearmoxie.com.
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